Have bats, will travel: Illinois District 17 opens Senior League World Series with bang offensively
ROXANA, Del. — The bats didn’t end up as lost luggage.
That’s bad news for the rest of the Senior League World Series field.
The Illinois District 17 softball team opened its return to the World Series by showcasing what it has done so consistently well throughout its postseason run — hit. The Land of Lincolners scored in each of the first three innings, collected 11 hits overall and never trailed in an 8-4 victory Monday night over West Region champion Hawaii.
District 17 will continue pool play at 2 p.m. Tuesday against the Southeast Region champion from Macon, Ga. The top four teams in each pool advance to a single-elimination bracket, which begins Friday.
Before the bats came alive Monday night, District 17 had to take a deep breath and settle in. Audrey Gilman did that for everyone.
With one out in the top of the first, the Calhoun product walked back-to-back Hawaii batters before an infield conference in the pitcher’s circle let her refocus. She struck out the next two batters and was in control thereafter.
Gilman worked four innings, allowing no hits, one run and two walks with seven strikeouts.
The offense gave her all the support she needed. An RBI groundout in the bottom the first gave Illinois a 1-0 lead, while a two-out single to right field in the second inning by Triopia’s Mylee Tracy made it 2-0. Havana’s Kaydi Miller and Rushville’s Italee Ford followed with back-to-back singles to bring home Tracy to make it 3-0.
In the third, Gilman led off with a double and later scored on a single by Pleasant Plains’ Aspen Kitowski. Tracy’s triple scored Kitowski.
An RBI single by Pleasant Hill’s Ava Wombles and an outfield error extended the lead to 7-3 in the fifth, and a Tracy groundout scored Wombles.
Tracy finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs, while Kitowski went 2 for 2 with three runs scored and Ford went 2 for 3 with a triple. Illinois collected five extra-base hits.
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